Do you have a matter in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal? It’s either in the Migration and Refugee Division or in the General Division. What will happen during the hearing? What should you expect? This article is about the Migration and Refugee Division.
Step 1. From lodgement to hearing date
The first step is that you lodge your appeal in the AAT and pay the lodgement fee. Then you just have to wait for the hearing date, although you want to use the time to prepare as much as you can.
Step 2. Hearing
About 4 to 6 weeks before the hearing, you will receive an email in which they notify you of the hearing date. On that day, you should arrive at the AAT at least 20 minutes early. 10 minutes before the hearing, they will ask you to go into the hearing room. They will take your ID, they will ask who will give evidence in your case and they will also ask if you wish to make a religious oath or an affirmation.
After these formalities, the Member (the person who decides the matter) will enter the room. They will explain the process very quickly and then they will ask many questions relevant to your case. Of course, you can make whatever submissions you want if you think they help your case.
The hearing will take 2 to 3 hours. There might be 1 or 2 breaks.
During the hearing, the Member might indicate to you that the Immigration Department has some documents about you which contain adverse information about you. They will not give you a copy of the document. But they will summarise the gist of the information which appears in the document. The Tribunal will then invite you to comment on this information. You will be given 5 to 15 minutes to think about your answer.
When all issues have been ventilated, and you have nothing further to say, the Member will conclude the hearing.
Step 3. After the hearing
You will be notified of the decision within a couple of weeks. The Tribunal might ask you to make written submissions after the hearing on some issues that might have arisen during the hearing. This doesn’t always happen but it’s not uncommon.
The Tribunal can make one of 3 decisions. Firstly, if it affirms the Immigration Department’s decision, that means the original decision stands (you lost). If it remits the case, that means the Department has to look at it again. If it sets aside and substitute’s the Immigration Department’s decision, that means you have won – congrats.
If you have been unsuccessful, you might have the option to apply for judicial review in the Federal Court.